PHONICS APPROACH In the Phonics Approach to reading word recognition is taught by using the grapheme-phoneme association method. A grapheme is the written letter (what you see on paper). A phoneme is the sound that the letter represents (what you hear). Learners are taught the vowels, consonants and blends. They are then taught to combine the sounds and blend them into words. In this way the learner can read unfamiliar words by using the association of speech sounds with certain letters or groups of letters. The early introduction of a phonics programme as part of an overall reading approach has become an almost universal practice in the teaching of reading. The phonics approach can be added to a basal reading approach as well as the language experience approach as soon as learners have mastered a basic sight vocabulary of about 50 – 100 words. There are two phonics methods; the synthetic and the analytic methods. Using the synthetic method the sounds are taught in isolation, they learn that the letter represents a certain sound, e.g. b = buh, and must then learn to blend the sounds to form words or, in other words, synthesize. The analytical method, on the other hand, teaches the sound as part of a word, e.g. b as in bat. The learners learn the new words as the phonic elements are introduced to them. Although the two phonic approaches differ, the end result is the same, as they teach the learner word- attack skills based on a grapheme- phoneme approach. Using this approach a learner will soon able to read independently. There are a few disadvantages to the phonics approach. Some learners may struggle to combine and blend the sounds into words. Learners may focus so much on the pronunciation of words that comprehension of the sentence or paragraph is lost. The exceptions to the basic phonic rules may also confuse learners. However, beginning readers may find the use of phonics in their reading very helpful. It can also be used as a support technique if a learner has sufficient sight vocabulary, but finds it difficult to analyze. The sequence below for the teaching of phonics comes from Spache and Spache. Simple Consonants b, p, m, w, h, d, t, n, hard g (gate), k, hard c (cake), y (yet), f (for) More Difficult Consonants v, l, z (zoo), s (sat), r, c (cent), q (kw), x (ks), j, g (engine), s (as) Consonant Blend and Digraphs ck, ng, th (the), zh, sh, th (thin), wh, ch Simple Consonants with l, r, p, or t, as bl, pl, gr, br, sp, st, tr, thr, str, spl, scr, and others as they appear Short Vowels a (hat), e (get), i (sit), o (top), u (cup), y (happy) Long Vowels a (cake), e (be), i (five), o (old), u (mule), k, y (cry Silent Letters k (knife), w (write), l (talk), t (catch), g (gnat), c (black), h (hour) Vowel Digraphs ai (pail), ea (each), oa (boat), ee (bee), ay (say), ea (dead) Vowel Diphthongs au (auto), aw (awful), oo (moon), oo (wood), ow (cow), ou (out), oy (boy), ow (low) Vowels with r ar (car), er (her), ir (bird), or (corn), ur (burn) Same as l and w Phonograms ail, ain, all, and, ate, ay, con, eep, ell, en, er, est, ick, ight, ill, in, ing, ock, ter, tion Alternatives – ake, ide, ole, ine, it, ite, le, re, ble Phonetic rules: Consonants 1. When c is frequently followed by e, I, or y, it has the sound of s, as in race, city, fancy. 2. Otherwise, c has the sound of k, as in come, attic. 3. G followed by e, i, or y sounds soft like j as in gem. 4. Otherwise g sounds hard, as in gone. 5. When c and h are next to each other, they make only one sound. 6. Ch is usually pronounced as it is in kitchen, not like sh (in machine). 7. When a word ends in ck, it has the same last sound, as in look. 8. When two of the same consonants are side by side, only one is heard, as in butter. 9. Sometimes s had the sound of z, as in raisin, music. 10. The letter x has the sounds of ks or k and s, as in box, taxi. Vowels 11. When a consonant and y are the last letters in a one-syllable word, the y has the long i sound, as in cry, by. In longer words the y has the long e sound, as in baby. 12. The r gives the preceding vowel a sound that is neither long nor short, as in car, far, fur and fir. The letters l and w have the same effect. Vowel Digraphs and Diphthongs 13. The first vowel is usually long and the second silent in oa, ay, ai, and ee, as in boat, say, gain, feed. 14. In ea the first letter may be long and the second silent, or it may have the short e sound, as in bread. 15. Ou, has two sounds: one is the long sound of o; the other is the ou sound, as in own or cow. 16. These double vowels blend into a single sound: au, aw, oi, oy, as in auto, awful, coin, boy. 17. The combination ou has a schwa sound, as in vigorous, or a sound as in out. 18. The combination oo has two sounds, as in moon and as in wood.